International Air Transport Association (IATA) officials maintain governments should initiate planning with the industry to ensure preparedness when COVID-19 vaccines are approved and ready for distribution.
“Safely delivering COVID-19 vaccines will be the mission of the century for the global air cargo industry,” IATA’s Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said. “But it won’t happen without careful advance planning. And the time for that is now. We urge governments to take the lead in facilitating cooperation across the logistics chain so that the facilities, security arrangements, and border processes are ready for the mammoth and complex task ahead.”
Additionally, the IATA has determined there are potential capacity constraints in transporting vaccines by air.
“Even if we assume that half the needed vaccines can be transported by land, the air cargo industry will still face its largest single transport challenge ever,” de Juniac said. “In planning their vaccine programs, particularly in the developing world, governments must take very careful consideration of the limited air cargo capacity that is available at the moment. If borders remain closed, travel curtailed, fleets grounded, and employees furloughed, the capacity to deliver life-saving vaccines will be very much compromised.”
Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, said delivering billions of doses of vaccine to the entire world efficiently involves hugely complex logistical and programmatic obstacles throughout the supply chain.
“We look forward to working together with government, vaccine manufacturers, and logistical partners to ensure an efficient global roll-out of a safe and affordable COVID-19 vaccine,” he said.